Sunday, 30 December 2012

End of the Year....

It's that time when we reflect on the year that is coming to a close.   How was yours?
I feel as if I've just got off a roller coaster ride... the ups and downs have made this year one I won't forget.

The biggest event was being present at the birth of my first grandchild, a beautiful baby boy.

I was also thrilled to win 3rd runner up in the UKCPS Annual Open Exhibition.

I treated myself to some special watercolours with the vouchers I received as my prize.

I'm still playing around with them, trying to get used to the colours.  It's like learning to paint again!
Here are two sketches, the first is painted with my usual Maimeri watercolours, the second with my new
Schmincke watercolours.

The blue skies and warm evening sun was on Christmas eve (aren't we lucky?)

There have been exhibitions and I've sold work so 2012 has been fairly successful, here's hoping that next year will be even better...without the roller coaster please!
Happy New Year to all. x

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Monday, 17 December 2012

Trying to Keep Up

A couple of sketches from this week, although I have been working on some bigger paintings too.
At the moment it's difficult to even find time to post on my blog, I hope by the time next year comes around (not long now)  to be more productive and above all more organised.  Not sure how I will do that but I can try!


I was lucky enough to have two herons perform a fly past while I was hanging out the washing.  My house is on a hillside so often birds fly past at nose level so to speak, this time one of the herons landed on a water tank across the road.  I couldn't see his legs so I  had to use some imagination and I don't think they are quite right!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Following the Path

Sketch in watercolour and ink, Botanical Gardens, Palermo.

'Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail' 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Oranges and Lemons

I bought a few sheets of new watercolour paper this week,  a make of paper from Germany  that's new to me called Schoellershammer.   
Naturally I had to try it out so I cut up one sheet into small 'sketch' size pieces.  The paper has a raised cloud like texture  which could be good or bad depending on how much detail you like to paint.
I also tried out coloured pencils and pastel over the watercolour just to see what happened.

Neither worked particularly well on the raised surface but it was worth a go.

The paper fits the bill for what I was looking for ...something reasonably priced to use for watercolour sketches instead of carrying round a heavy pad.  I had a look at the Schoellerschammer website and although I don't know exactly which one I've got, the paper is acid free.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Early in the Morning

Most days I have an early start as I have to get my son to the station before 7 am, this leaves me with an hour or so before the rest of the world awakes.  So I've been using that hour for sketching as  time is short during the day.

This is a big full moon at 7am this morning just as  dawn was tinging the sky with pink.

How do you make time to sketch?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Red Berries

Watercolour  10 x 16 cms

I've been so busy this last month I've hardly had time to think about Christmas and get some cards organised,
But I made the effort and burnt some midnight oil to paint these red berries .  I want to get them printed  and sent off as soon as possible so online printing is not going to be an option (unless I want to pay large amounts of money for a fast/courier service)
Tomorow I will visit a local printer and see if he can do an overnight miracle!

Note to myself...please be organised next year and start your christmas cards in June.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Holding On

This small oak tree looked as if it had a mishap, some kind of landslide had left it hanging onto a mound of earth.  You have to admire it's tenacity in continuing to grow no matter what!
Watercolour and ink, 21x29cms.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Pebbles on the Beach

60x50cms, oil on canvas

This the first painting in a series I'm doing on a sea/beach theme for a future exhibition.  I really enjoyed painting this one it just seemed to flow of my brush and I can't wait to get onto the next one.
I'm not sure about the title, perhaps something more original would be better?

Friday, 9 November 2012

Out and About

I realised I hadn't scanned my sketchbook for ages, so here are a few sketches from the past month.
The first is the most recent sketched from a hospital window.

A local church sketched from the supermarket car park. (My locations are so romantic!)

An old  villa sketched from the back and  the railway station car park.  (I admit that some of our car parks have good views)

A house in a nearby village, I like the higgly piggly arrangement of Sicilian villages.

Monday, 29 October 2012


My idea of a hauntingly spooky vision in time for Halloween.
Inspired by the word 'haunt', this week on Illustration Friday, watercolour and pastel.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Autumn Sky

An autumn sky, mostly from my imagination.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Somewhere Down the Dusty lane

Another try at pastel over watercolour, this time I used an unfinished sketch of  the dusty lane.
I'd sketched an outline in ink and put in some basic colour in watercolours but that was all, left abandoned 
and never finished.
I used both soft  and hard pastels this time, working mainly from memory (this is a very familiar view but at the moment the right hand side is black and burnt following a wildfire a few weeks ago) .

What I haven't got is a fixative for pastels, the only one I've ever had changed the colours making the pastel darker and duller, which isn't the desired effect!  So can anyone recommend a good make please?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Un Grappolo d'Uva

Pastel & watercolour (30x23cms)

A bunch of grapes from my garden.....there were only four bunches altogether.  This painting started out as a watercolour but I was having difficulty getting the right translucent colour for the grapes so I got my pastels out and went over the top.
I don't use pastels very often but I enjoyed working over the watercolour so I'm sure I'll be trying this again.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Autumn is Back

Crispy brown leaves from my garden....autumn is here!

I can't resist the colours at this time of year.
A  song by Irish jazz/blues singer Mary Coughlan comes to mind.

Like the wind takes a leaf from a tree
Time will take your love from me.....

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

UKCPS Annual Open Exhibition 2012 and.....

Endymion and Aglaia (coloured pencil)

The UKCPS (UK Coloured Pencil Society) annual exhibition is underway at Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery, Coten Road, Nuneaton.

My painting Endymion and Aglaia is in the exhibition and I was very pleased to find it had won the third runner up award.
This is the first time I've won anything for my art work so all I can say is that I'm tickled pink!

The exhibition runs from October 6th until November 25th but you can  see the award winners and  the amazing work that can be achieved with coloured pencils online here

Monday, 8 October 2012


The prompt for Illustration Friday this week is 'mirror'.  This is an illustration from a couple of years ago (Sketchbook Project), but it fits well with the theme.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Need Some Colour!

I'm without telephone and internet connection for now as we had a wild fire down the dusty lane

and telegraph poles were burnt and telephone wires melted. Lucklily the fire only singed the

edge of my garden and we wern't at home at the time! Sadly the view from the front of the house

is only blackened burnt trees which I thought about sketching but the idea was too depressing.

Hence a lovely colourful feather!!

I don't know how long it will take to get everything fixed and I will post when I can get to a


Wednesday, 26 September 2012


'Crooked' for illustration Friday.  
Any occasion is good for drawing some twisty, crooked bare branches!

Monday, 24 September 2012

15 Shades of Black

I've been sorting out my art materials and I realised how many different pens, paints, pencils I have.  I use some all the time and others not so much, so I decided to have a 'play' and compare the different shades and texture of just one colour..Black!
I need to get a decent fixative for pastel and charcoal work, I think that is the main reason why I don't use those very much. My favourites remain coloured pencil and watercolour with ink skidding into third place.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Living on the Ceiling


I sketched and painted some geckos that come to visit every evening.  They wait for  unsuspecting insects that are drawn by the light, then they quickly gobble them up.   I love their little spread out toes that seem to stick to the wall and ceiling like suckers. Geckos can't blink or close their eyes, they use their very long tongues to clean and moisten their eyes.

watercolour and coloured pencil

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


'Burst' for Illustration Friday.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Peeling Away the Layers

I love old peeling paint, it gives buildings and objects their own life story, the more layers the better.
This old church door was especially interesting as it was just open very slightly, enough to peek in an admire the restorations that are going on inside.
This painting has been in and out of the bin twice and a less colourful one started, but in the end it's all about what I saw and felt and not what it actually looks like.  I will try and remember that the next time!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

I Promise

A watercolour sketch of some peaches on my kitchen table.  I promise not to paint any more fruit or vegetables for at least a week month!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Like Peas in a Pod

Identical.   Just like peas in a pod.

Illustration Friday

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Last of the Summer pears

These are the last of my pears:  I know I've done several of these watercolours but these were hard to resist.
They had a lovely golden rosy glow, sitting in the sunlight on my kitchen table.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Tall Buildings

Not exactly skyscrapers ( we don't have any of those anyway) but beautiful old tall buildings around Piazza Marina.
I find the tops of these old buildings interesting, I imagine little roof gardens and hidden terraces, but you would probably have to climb many flights of stairs first!  

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ssshhhh everyone is sleeping....

  On a hot afternoon everyone is dozing, not much else you can do!  

Not a whisker is stirring......

Good job I have my new sketchbook to hand.

I went to the local art shop for some supplies yesterday and the assistant informed me that two big boxes of Fabriano watercolour pads & sketchbooks had arrived.....would I like to go down to she stock room with her and see what has arrived.  Yes Please!
I bought a great big thick sketchbook with creamy yellow paper, far too big for my sketch bag......but lovely to think of how I will fill it.
I also bought a new watercolour pad and some tubes of paint too.
New art supplies always make me happy!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Too much thinking is bad for you...

The top watercolour is tiny, the size of a playing card and it took just a few minutes to paint using left over paint from the watercolour below.

This watercolour is much larger and took quite a bit longer and I had a photograph as a reference, the smaller one was painted from memory.   I prefer the small painting don't you?

I painted the small one first thing  in the morning and the other in the late afternoon.  What does this say about my way of working?  Obviously I paint better when my brain isn't fully operative.
Some might say that is most of the time!

Paintings are of the salt pans and an old windmill at Trapani.




Monday, 13 August 2012

Old Olive Tree

If you can't tell it's an old olive tree!  I was having too much fun experimenting with different textures and lost the shape of the tree although I was quite pleased with the background.
This tree is up in the hills not far from where I live.  In the past weeks we've had so many fires in that area and I'm not sure if the trees survived. I will never understand people who deliberately start fires on a bone dry  hillside killing wildlife, plants and trees?

Sunday, 5 August 2012


Ermelinda is a singer, she has a beautiful classical voice.  We met earlier in the year at an art exhibition and  I  secretly tried to sketch her interesting face and long black hair.  Fortunately after we got talking she agreed to pose for some reference photographs (sketching time ran out) for me to use at a later date.

It's taken me a while to get round to it and is a first attempt at a portrait in watercolour.  I think I painted her a little too fierce and there are things I don't like but I didn't want to fiddle around with it too much so I left it as it is.


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